I discovered the Waterford harbor Farmer's market in 2008, but 2009 was a year of great growth for the venture, manged by my friend Mary Stalker, and so it is my favorite start-up of the year.
For location alone, this market scores big. Set along the Erie Canal, at Lock 2, it gets not only foot traffic and road traffic, but also boat traffic (and you can take a ride through the locks, if you're so inclined. The walkways have an inlaid map of the canal, so you can actually travel the entire legth of it without leaving the land, in a sense. It's close to the Visitor Center, so there are even rest rooms available.
Every week there is a raffle, and usually live music. There was a 14 year old musician/songwriter there last year. He was amazing!
I met Mary when we worked together in a small daycare. Her abiding love of children is evident in the Fun Table, which always has craft or play projects. There are also trees for climbing, and, on special days, there might be a free bounce house or hay ride, magic, pumpkins to paint...
And of course there is an ever-increasing selection of good local organic produce, free range meat and eggs, cheeses, wines, jams, and breads. There are also artisans with jewelry, crockery, imported fair-trade crafts, baked goods, and other wares. The children and I love to make our purchases, then go to sit under the trees and enjoy a fresh snack...
And Mary is there nearly every week, out where the action is, personally making sure everything goes smoothly.